Judging from the veterans the Central Cambria and Chestnut Ridge girls' cross country teams have returning, the two teams are likely to make a run at another championship season.
Last fall, Ridge won a district title while Central Cambia not only won districts but went on to win the state championship.
Carly Seymour, the outstanding leader of last season's Central Cambria's Class AA-District 6 and state-AA championship teams graduated, but the remainder of the CC lineup is back.
Seymour won her third district title with a 17:39, breaking her own record in the process; and her second state title with a 17:49.
Seymour's two sisters, Kelsey, a junior, and Kendall, a sophomore, return along with senior Annie Cekada and sophomore Emily Wright.
''We would like to repeat as District 6 champs and would like to remain competitive at the state level,'' said Central Cambria coach Randy Wilson. ''Experience is our biggest strength.''
Central Cambria, at districts, had five runners in the Top 9.
Kelsey was Central Cambria's No. 2 finisher and fifth overall (19:44). Cekada was the team's third finisher and sixth overall (19:48).
Kendall was Central Cambria's fourth runner and seventh overall (19:56). while Wright was CC's No. 5 runner and ninth overall (20:22).
Cekada, Kelsey, Kendall and Wright followed Carly in the state competition. Cekada was 8th overall (19:50), Kelsey 10th (19:53), Kendall 12th (19:54), and Wright 22nd (20:27).
Central Cambria also returns sophomore Ashley Stump, 17th in the district race (20:52) and 35th at states (20:52).
Chestnut Ridge, District 5 champions year ago, returns four of its five top runners, junior Kristen Koontz, senior Alexis Pauley, sophomore Jeane Pauley, and senior Elizabeth Leister.
Koontz was Ridge's No. 1 runner and second overall, (21:45), Alexis Pauley was Ridge's No. 2 runner and fifth overall (22:27), Jeane Pauley was CR's No. 3 runner and sixth overall (22:28), and Leister was Ridge's fifth runner and No. 15 overall (24:12).
Ridge's No. 4 runner at districts and 11th overall was Olivia Webb, who graduated. Bedford's Richell Lashley, a senior last season, won the District 5 race (21:42)
Another local runner returning who finished in the Top 20-Class AA at districts is Bellwood-Antis sophomore Emiley Stapleton, No. 20 (21:14).
Returning Altoona runners who were among the Top 20 finishers at districts-Class AAA, include sophomore Sasha Peterman, No. 7 (20:56); junior Kelsey O'Brien, No. 10 (21:02); sophomore Alexis Ebersole, No. 13 (21:44); senior Jane Hallinan, No. 17 (22:14); and senior Julie Hallinan, No. 19 (22:22).
Hollidaysburg returns senior Ashley Ott, No. 14 a year ago at districts-AAA, (21:48)
Ott, Cekada, Julie Hallinan, O'Brien, Peterman, Kelsey Seymour, Kendall Seymour, and Stapleton were Altoona Mirror cross country all-stars last season.
Taking a closer look at the area cross country teams:
Coach: Tabitha Quinn, 12th year.
Last year's record: 6-2.
Career record: 53-27.
Returning runners: Seniors-Jane Hallinan, Julie Hallinan. Juniors-Kelsey O'Brien, Stephanie Hippo, Taylor Stessney. Sophomores-Alexis Ebersole, Carly Parris, Sasha Peterman.
Newcomers-Seniors-Amber Stacey. Juniors-Sarah Gray, Maura Jones, Emily Luciano. Sophomores-Jessica Cuff. Freshmen-Erin Jacobs, Jessalynn Johnsonbaugh, Danielle Parowski, Courtney Schobel, Erin Sheehan, Lindsey Stacey.
Strengths: ''Our team leadership from our top six varsity runners, especially from our two seniors, Jane and Julie Hallinan is remarkable. After two late season injuries last season in the varsity lineup for districts, the depth in the team made it possible for the underclassmen to step up to the front of the pack without hesitation. Overall, the team put in a strong, solid summer of training which has made the preseason and the forthcoming season rather promising for them to meet their individual and team goals.''
Weaknesses: ''In keeping an open mind and in keeping each practice or race fresh is vitally important. It will take a few races and lessons learned with the traveling racing season and strategy for our newcomers. In traveling almost every weekend, the team has to maintain flexibility and to compromise the training and travel arrangements with the rigors of the meet schedule.''
Outlook: ''Our returning runners realize the hard work, commitment and experience needed for an outstanding team. Individually, the returning runners have been running strong and are ready to take on the challenge to qualify for the team state championship meet. They know they must pick up the pace in each meet to make their mark to get to their long term goal.''
Assistant coaches: Missy Nedimyer, Jim D'Angelo, Travis Etters
Coach: Michele Fisher, Lisa Fleming (co-coaches), second year.
League: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference
Last year record: 0-8 Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference.
Returning letterwinners: Seniors-Ashley Koontz. Sophomores-Alex Fleming, Amy Miller.
Strengths: Coach Fisher-''The team is shaping up with the addition of some promising underclassmen.''
Concerns: ''Our main concern right now is keeping the girls healthy and progressing.''
Overall outlook: ''The team goal is to finish the season with both District V championships.''
Assistant coach: Jeff Hamilton.
Coach: Joe Bilka, ninth year.
Last year record: 0-9.
Overall record: 36-44.
League: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference.
Returning starters: Juniors-Mary Kantoski, Colleen Kell. Sophomores-Megan Blake.
Newcomers: Seniors-Cathie Baker. Juniors-Lauren Spahn. Freshmen-Mckenna Elder, Caitlyn Yahner.
Strengths: ''We have three experienced returning runners and four newcomers, which should make for an interesting season.''
Concerns: ''Low numbers is a concern, but we will come to race.''
Overall outlook: ''Our girls will work hard and give it their maximum effort.''
Assistant coaches: Damien Bilka, Vicki Bilka (volunteer).
Coach: Julie Roseborough, 17th year.
Last year's record: 5-4.
Career record: 99-76.
Returning letterwinners: Seniors-Emily Derr, Kelley Killinger, Emily O'Shea. Juniors-Alyssa Davis, Allison Derr, Erin Morrissey. Sophomores-Emiley Stapleton.
Other returnees: Seniors-Jenna Nevling, Nicole Post. Sophomores-Amanda Miller.
Newcomers: Seniors-Katie Mardayat. Freshmen-Samantha Bacza, Hannah Claar, Morgan Dutrow.
Strengths: ''We have seven returning letterwinners.''
Concerns: ''We need to be patient and develop our younger runners.''
Overall outlook: ''We hope to have a good year.''
Assistant coaches: Sarah Reese, Ron Wilson.
Coach: John Kuskoski, 16th year.
Last year's record: 3-8 overall, 2-7 Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference
Career record: 84-93.
Returning letterwinners: Seniors-Amanda Bobby, Jordan Dobransky, Erica Gray, Paige Karlheim, Amanda Lacue, Nicole Litzinger, Sabrina Loughran, Alyssa Pagano, Samantha Sherry, Courtney Weakland. Juniors-Alyssa Sclesky, Miranda Zeanchock.
Other returnees: Sophomores-Ivy Fisher, Hannah Farabaugh.
Newcomers: Juniors-Stephanie Anna, Jessica Biter, Paulina Kline, Victoria Murphy. Sophomores-Rachel Breth, Jessica Crowell, Chelseh Kline. Freshmen-Megan Bricker, Christine Crowell, Brittanie Illig, Sara Lieb.
Strengths: ''Obviously with 25 on the roster, that number is a strength. Other strengths, enthusiasm to learn and work.''
Concerns: No one with more than a year of cross county experience.''
Overall outlook: ''Should show improvement in records and District 6 ranking.''
Assistant coaches: Kathryn Kuskoski, Chrissie Sowers, Michele Weber, Nathaniel Wharton.
Coach: Jerome Conlon, 13th year.
Last year's record: 13-1.
Career record: 139-44.
Returning starters: Seniors-Laura Smith.
Juniors: Erica Dicken, Ashley Olivieri, Sue Stern, Brandy Wilt. Sophomores-Alexa Hepner.
Newcomers: Seniors-Gabrielle Lanzendorfer.
Strengths: ''Both boys and girls teams were Mountain League Conference champions last year. The teams only lost one boy and two girls to graduation. The teams have an experience and somewhat gifted core returning this year.
Concerns: ''Numbers and injuries are always a worry. With only nine boys and seven girls, we can't afford to have any team member injured for any meet or invitational.''
Overall outlook: ''We hope to have a winning season, perform well individually, qualify the team or individuals to the state meet and have fun.''
Coach: Randy Wilson, ninth year.
Overall record: 93-3 (approximately)
Last year: Undefeated in dual meets, Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference regular Season champions, LHAC meet champions, District 6 AA champions and AA state champions.
Returning runners: Seniors-Kaitlyn Brown, Annie Cekada, Ali Maruca, Heather Mazenko, Brittany Tusing. Juniors-Morgan Eckenrod, Kelsey Seymour, Mariah Seymour. Sophomores-Paige Berdomas, Kendall Seymour, Ashley Stump, Emily Wright.
Newcomers: Sophomores-Mackenzie Magley. Freshmen-Kaylee Collins, Jessica Kane, Katie Ley, Ellie Wentz.
Strengths: ''Experience is our biggest strength.''
Concerns: ''Handling the pressure that comes along with being the state champion and having a target on your back all year.''
Overall outlook: ''We would like to repeat as LHAC and District 6 AA champs and would like to remain competitive at the state level.''
Assistant coaches: Tammy (Pearson) Nagel, Krista Sossong.
Coach: Jason Tew, sixth year.
Returning letterwinners: Seniors-Elizabeth Leister, Alexis Pauley. Juniors-Kristen Koontz. Sophomores-Jeane Pauley, Katherine Bischof.
Newcomers: Juniors-Amanda Pataki.
Goals: "To be competitive in the district, have an individual compete for the district individual title."
Comments: "The girls are returning most of the team that won the district tltle last year. Kristen Koontz and Alexis Pauley both broke the school record last year and are looking to improve this year. Elizabeth suffered an injury last year that limited her running, but looks really good so far. I expect her to do really well this year."
Coach: Marty Wimer, 10th year.
Returning runners: Seniors-Rachel Biltz, Hannah Bourne, Allison Boyer, Erin Edmiston, Michelle Herman, Ashley Ott, Mandy Zaebst. Juniors-Lizzy Martinsen, Taylor Moore, Hannah Wray. Sophomores-Amanda Beckstead.
Newcomers: Seniors-Ashley Barroner. Sophomores-Catherine Anderson, Rebecca Anderson, Marisa Kosko-Blyler, Arianna DeReus, Ashley Beyer, Alyssa Beyer, Sara Kaneshiki, Sarah Robbins. Freshmen-Alexis Preston.
Strengths: ''We have some experienced athletes with good leadership skills. Senior Ashley Ott has already competed at the state championship twice.''
Concerns: ''Most of our runners are new and inexperienced.''
Overall outlook: ''We should have a winning season.''
Coach: Dolores Gahagan, 24th year.
Returning runners: Juniors-Breanna Taylor, Emily Yocum. Tosha Anders, Kenzie Clapper.
Newcomers: Juniors-Alyssa Boardman, Maura Belinda. Freshmen-Brittany Kurtz, Rachel Kyper Sara Myers, Shawna Kennedy, Kirsten States, Makayla Coffman.
Strengths: "We are happy to have the returning lettermen back to provide leadership. We are also excited to have such a large number of new girls out who are young and ready to work. We hope good numbers and hope to improve throughout the season as we gain more experience."
Concerns: "We have a young team and this will be a rebuilding year for us."
Overall outlook: "We have good numbers and the girls have been working hard. We've had a good few weeks of preseason and we hope to gain experience and brings our times down as the season progresses."
Assistant coaches: Krista McCrum, Nancy Kyper.
Coach: Doug Perry, fourth year.
Last year's record: 6-6.
Career record: 20-12.
Returning letterwinners: Seniors-Veronika Barrett; Sophomores-Sarah Komisar, Kathryn Ritter, Erika Patrick. Freshmen-Kristen Fox, Mary Komisar.
Key newcomers: Ninth grade-Marissa Albert. Eighth grade-Lauren Simcox.
Assistant coaches: Kelly Dobo, Rob Thompson.